Mattel’s See ‘n Say educational toys first appeared on the scene in the mid-1960s. The talking toy re-purposed a mechanism in the company’s popular Chatty Cathy doll, with one key difference. While Cathy randomly spoke pre-recorded phrases when the string in her back was pulled, See ‘n Say Toys allowed the user to choose a phrase they wanted to hear via an adjustable pointer. This adjustment let the battery-free toys talk and teach preschool children a range of topics in a fun, quasi-game-like fashion.
The first See ‘n Say toys taught the letters of the alphabet (The Bee Says), farm animal sounds (The Farmer Says), and time (The Clock Says).
As See ‘n Say grew in popularity, Mattel expanded its educational offerings to new topics and began branding them with licensed characters, such as Raggedy Ann, Winnie the Pooh, and other Disney characters. The line was expanded to include talking storybooks and the Sing-Along Play Phonograph that taught preschoolers how to sing children’s songs and nursery rhymes.
Remember the toys and games of years past through vintage advertising – for better and for worse!